The valley of Kashmir is set like a jewel in the crown in the map of India. It is a multi-faceted diamond, changing its hues with seasons with extravagant beauty. It is well named as “The Paradise on Earth”. This landscape is the source of great rivers, orchards and decorated lily-laden lakes. Along with this Jammu, Ladakh and Gilgit form the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir is the biggest valley located over an area of 105 sq km, at an altitude of 1730 m above the sea level. This valley is bordered by Punjab in the south and on the southwest by Himachal Pradesh. While Tibet borders it on the east and Pakistan lies to its west. In case of Latitude, this place matches with south Carolina (North America), Fez (Morocco), Baghdad and Peshawar (Pakistan). The time here is 5:30 hours ahead of GMT and has half an hour difference with local time.
The history of Kashmir is quiet old. It was ruled by Hindu rulers, Mughal emperors, Sikh kings and the British. The beautiful mosque and gardens seen in Kashmir were endowed by Mughal emperor Akbar.
The beauty of snow-capped peaks, the fragrant orchards and pine forests attracts thousands of tourists towards Kashmir. There are a number of tourist spots located in and around this valley.
Jammu, the capital of the state is a famous pilgrimage spot which pulls thousands of pilgrims towards it.
The city of lakes, Srinagar has a strong influence of various cultures namely, Hindu, Mughal, Sikh and British. Srinagar has fantastic waterscapes and landscapes like Dal Lake, Mughal Gardens and various ancient mosques and temples.
Gul Marg:Any tour itinerary will be incomplete without a visit to Gul Marg, which has picturesque beauty ranging from a grassy knoll to wildflowers, the highest golf course to ski resorts.
Travelers should not miss out mountain resorts and wildlife sanctuary in Pahalgam which is near Kashmir. Also Pahalgam acts as the starting point for the annual pilgrimage to the holy cave of Amarnath.
If one likes to explore Buddhist culture, one can stop at Ladakh where there are a number of monasteries, temples, gomphas etc., dotting the landscape.
Ma Vaishno Devi Temple:
Spiritual travelers should never miss Ma Vaishno Devi temple near Katra, which is 48 km from Jammu.
Patnitop is an unusual hill resort surrounded by pine forests and breathtaking views.
Dachigam National Park:
Dachigam National Park, situated 32 km away from Srinagar, is one of the last remaining habitats of endangered species like hangul, musk deer and leopard. Wildlife sanctuaries like Overa wildlife sanctuary and Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve are situated in Kashmir.
The amalgamation of rich, varied culture and social heritage has resulted in many festivals in Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir state is also famous for its beautiful handicrafts, woollen products, dry fruits, saffron, brass and wooden artefacts, rugs and carpets and wall hangings.